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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Partners in pregnancy and birth

As a parent-to-be or birth partner you might be worried about your role. You might have heard about how irritating it is to be ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ by ‘kill joy’ partners. You might also have heard about mum’s-to-be feeling unsupported because their partners showed too little interest. So how do you get the balance right? We asked mums and partners “what worked for you?” Here’s a collection of their replies.

“I had a seizure, but my husband handled it like normal. He talked me through what was happening when I came round… right in the middle of a contraction. If I had come round to strangers, I would have panicked!” Amy, mum of one

“My husband was good at communicating with the midwives for me. He knew what I wanted to do about my meds.” Gemma, mum of two

“Set an alarm on your mobile or watch, so that you can remind mum when to take her epilepsy medication. This will really help during labour.” Emma, mum of two

“I was scared that labour would be painful and bloody, and that I’d panic and be useless to my wife. But my wife and I discussed the birth plan in detail, so I knew what she wanted. This was good, because during the labour, I was her greatest advocate.” Janine mum of one and step-parent

“Don’t be afraid to ask the doctors and midwife questions too, and make a note of what they’ve told you. My partner had ‘problem pregnancies’. As a result our babies were born prematurely, and needed special care.

“The health staff always spoke to ‘her’ rather than ‘us’. But asking questions reminded them (and my wife) that we were a team. I also made notes when talking to the doctors. This really helped as we could go through the notes again and again (once we were both calmer) and better understand what had been said.” Craig, dad of three

“I had a seizure, but my husband handled it like normal. He talked me through what was happening when I came round… right in the middle of a contraction. If I had come round to strangers, I would have panicked!” Amy, mum of one

“Read the safety advice for parents with epilepsy. There are things that you can do to help mum feel safer and supported (without making her seizures feel like an issue).”

“Help to pack her hospital bag, making sure that you include her anti-epileptic medication. You could also sneak in a little treat to show you care.”

“As a dad, I’d like to tell partners, don’t be embarrassed about buying things like breast pads and breast pumps!” Barry, dad of two

“Don’t forget to pack change for hospital parking. You never know when you might have to rush to the hospital.” Louise, mum of one

“Ooh, take mum-to-be some breakfast in bed. This way, she can eat and then go back to sleep for a little while. This really helped me cope with my morning sickness.” Stacey, mum of one

“My partner brought some of my favourite comfort foods to the hospital. This really helped me, as I was so sick of hospital food!” Amanda, mum of two

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